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Research

Several field station researchers will be presenting their work at the upcoming Form and Analysis in Mayan Linguistics (FAMLI) conference!

Structures of Mayan languages
Mayan languages are under-studied and have grammatical features which make them of significant interest for linguists. Improving our knowledge of the structure and use of Mayan languages is a major, ongoing research focus of the Guatemala field station. Excerpts from Pedro Mateo Pedro's book on Q'anjob'al Maya can be found here.

Child language development and assessment
One of the best ways to assess young children's language development is by looking at their vocabulary.  We are working in collaboration with Wuqu' Kawoq to develop a vocabulary assessment tool for use with children learning Kaqchikel as their native language.  By creating a means of assessing whether a child is lagging behind his or her peers, we can offer health care providers with a way to identify  children in need of language intervention.

Mayan language contact
There are around 30 Mayan languages and while researchers have studied and documented a number of them, this documentation has been done language by language. In practice, many of these languages have been in contact with each other (as well as with Spanish) over extended periods of time. Investigating the interactions between these languages - and the resulting language changes - will improve documentation and resources for Mayan languages, and inform maintenance and revitalization efforts.

Future research
Research areas in development include collaborations with experts in:

  • public health
  • nutrition
  • education
  • migration